Shawangunk Catskill area Grotto
Google Earth Images
Google Earth is a free program that puts a map of the world on any computer with an internet connection, and dragging and zooming in on the image allows you to see just about any place on the surface with varying levels of detail. In many areas the level of detail is enough to let you see features as small as cars, and even people's shadows. Features include the ability to overlay a variety of information, and save locations along with names and notes for the location.
If your computer isn't good enough to run Google Earth you can get the same images from Google Maps by using the satellite view, but it doesn't offer the functionality of Google Earth.
At the present, even the best levels of detail aren't generally good enough to look for caves, although it's possible that a few large, but unknown, entrances might be visible where there are detailed images of areas that are off the beaten track. If you already know where the caves are, though, it is possible to find some caves or areas that may be of interest to cavers. The links below are to a few of the places you can see using Google Earth or Google Maps. The Google Earth menu lets you copy an image, but the links here will open a new browser window showing the location in Google Maps. You can use the zoom slider in the upper left corner of the image to zoom out to see a wider view.
Howe Caverns The Howe Caverns property happens to straddle a boundary between an area of high detail and one of low detail. The dark blotch is the building that houses the gift shop, ticket office and restaurant. There is a very clear and obvious landmark in the area of high detail.
Speleobooks and Gage cabin That's Emily's store right in the center of the image. Zoom out and use the measuring tool (lower right of the map image), to find the Gage cabin 950 feet south of Emily's driveway, on the west side of the road.
Mystery location #1 Can you guess where this is? The dark spot in the center of the sinkhole might actually be the entrance. It's at least close to the right spot. Zooming out two steps will show some more roads without revealing any overly obvious landmarks. Zooming out 4 or 5 steps will show a landmark that will offer a major clue to those who are familiar with this area. Here's the answer.
Blue Holes dive site, Palau, Micronesia Like Cocoview, this is another dive destination that some SCAG members went to a while back. The lighter colored areas are shallower water, and the four dark spots in the shallow water are vertical shafts that start in 2 to 4 feet of water and reach about 80 feet before opening through the wall into the deep water to the left. Notice the dive boat about 170 feet away.
Here's what it looks like when the ground isn't buried under 1800 cavers, their tents, and cars.
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